As usual, time has flown by, and I’m finally sitting down to update this blog!
The weather has been a bit weird — a cool and somewhat rainy August, then hot (for here!) and dry most of September. And then the last two nights were suddenly in the 30’s, enough frost to do in the basil and the squash vines in the garden. But now at least it actually feels like fall!
Since I last wrote, we finished painting the north side, completed the west side, and have done most of what we can on the south side above the roof. A brief review of the process: First you put up furring strips, venting material around windows, trim around the windows, then clapboards — one at a time, nailed on every foot. A lot must be cut to size, sometimes dry-fitted, etc. and carefully spaced and level. Put them up from the bottom up, then paint (actually opaque stain) from the top down. And there are also soffit vents under the eaves and finally the frieze board (the trim at the top of the clapboards). Whew!
Here is the west wall complete as high as we could go (and scaffolding taken down), as of 8/1:
Then we put up the scaffolding on the west wall (around the corner to the right in the photo above) and started work on that. (The red things on the poles are pump jacks, so you can raise and lower the platform.) In 10 days we had gotten this far:
The “triangle” on the right outlines where the roof will be for the 3-season porch we will build out from the house. We’ll leave out those clapboards next to the roof till the roof is constructed as the layers of roofing and the clapboards have to go on in a certain order. For working on this side we moved the chop saw to the southwest corner and put up our pavilion tent over it — I appreciated the shade when the sun was out, and it made keeping things dry easier! As usual, Tim gave me measures, I cut clapboards to length as needed, started the nails in each end, and handed them up; he did the up high work.
In mid August I went off to Early Music Week at Pinewoods Music Camp in Massachusetts, where I played my recorders, had wonderful classes, and learned English Country Dancing! I learned a lot and had a fabulous time! While I was gone, Tim covered the Roxul around the foundation with lathe and special cement — he worked hard! The cement will protect the Roxul from weathering. The picture below shows part of the wall next to the basement walk-out.
And then we continued working on the west wall. Here is Tim working up in the gable. Luckily he can work in tight spaces! Note the jacket and hat. This was September 1, and it was unusually cool, and the first red maple leaves were coming down.
By 9/18 we had the west wall almost complete! When done, we removed the platforms from the scaffolding.
Next we started on the south wall above the roof. Our first challenge was setting up the platform on the roof. Tim made wedge-shaped supports so the platform would be level, with pieces of non-slip shelf liner underneath to prevent slipping. First we managed to get the frames for the platforms up on the roof (I pushed each up a ladder on the lower side of the roof till Tim could grab hold and carry it up to the supports). Below (as of 9/19) you can see the wedges and the frames in place, and the decking pieces on the left ready to attach:
Tim is able to climb up this ladder to get to the platform, and then I carried up all the furring strips and all the clapboards. Happily, we have gotten pretty good at measuring and cutting so we did not have dry fit any clapboards, which greatly reduced the time it took and meant many fewer trips up the ladder for me! (The bucket you see only worked for small stuff, tools, etc.)
Putting up the first few courses of clapboards was challenging and really hard on Tim’s knees and back!
By 9/27 we had clapboards up about as far as we can go. This went pretty fast, considering that it was so hot (in the 80’s, record highs for us here) that we didn’t work from about 11 till 3 or so most days:
Now we are about ready to paint this wall (will I manage to get up on that roof??). But, with good weather predicted, we have a rented a boom lift for 5 days next week. The rest of the building materials will be delivered today, then we will prime and paint like crazy. Once the boom lift is here, we will get right to work to finish the highest parts of the north and south sides, including soffits (under the eaves) and trim. Yippee!!! (We can finish this painting later.) And then we can start constructing the porch… :~) Tim has spent quite a lot of time planning the porch, figuring out snow loads and other issues in order to design it correctly.
All this time, Tim has continued rising very early to row 5 morning a week, and has been competing in some head races. We are excited that he will be in his club’s first (ie “best”) men’s 8 competing in the Head of the Charles race in Boston in October! (I don’t get up as early as Tim, but often practice my recorder music while he is gone.)
A special treat in August/September was seeing Monarch butterflies! We had a caterpillar on a milkweed plant growing next to the sunflowers, and it made a chrysalis! The beautiful green chrysalis got very dark, and we checked it frequently, and saw it soon after the butterfly emerged! This particular Monarch had a slightly deformed wing (probably related to the black spot you can see on the chrysalis beyond it in the photo below), so we recognized it at our flowers a week later! Another Monarch visited me while cutting clapboards, perching on my hand, my arm, my tool bag, etc. while I was working — how cool and how beautiful!
We have continued to enjoy flowers blooming, and our vegetable garden has been quite prolific. We are happy to have a good freezer, but have also canned pickles and applesauce. The tomatoes especially have appreciated the hot sunny September, and we are eating lots of them! This photo is from 8/23. The beans and cucumbers are finished, but we have been harvesting lots of squash and tons of tomatoes!
Below is from 9/20, what we see from the southeast corner of the house. You can see leaves changing (and fallen!), the late blooming perennials in the “bank” garden, and our full wood shed! (The building in the background is the “camp,” now garden shed, that we built in 2008, and the the curvy pipe on the right of the garden is the vent from the septic system — someday to be painted a more camouflage color!)
And here are some of our last flowers — a painted lady butterfly on a tithonia blossom, and wild asters which the bees love (can you spot the bee below?) — a sure sign of fall!
We remain very happy, enjoying ourselves and appreciating the great friends we have made here! Until next time…